While I was crying like a child I only hugged my best friend and I told her Glory to God! Glory to God!
This memory is still very strong, I was 15, we were listening to the parish news when I saw further, the temple light up. It was some young that who called themselves “pilgrims”.
Many years went by and my heart was already totally in love with God, I was already involved in my catholic community, and as well in the same church, the same bench, and the same mass every day, I went back to hear “Brothers, we came in the name of the Delegation of the Pilgrims of the Parish to ask for your help..” My ears listened but my soul jumped at the moment and I said “ I want to be a pilgrim! The World Youth Day in Madrid is waiting for me”.
My community is small but very united. At the WYD I attended as the unique representative of my community and even before going back, standing in the room waiting all together at Madrid I said “ Father, I promise you next time I will come with the young people of my community” with the firm intention to ignite the call! I created a fire of emotion in my community and in a short time the first Delegation of WYD Pilgrims of my Catholic Community NuevAlianza from Salvador appeared.
With the time, the group changed, but God is infinitely and creatively perfect. Madrid had only 1 pilgrim, Rio de Janeiro had 7 pilgrims. Perfect promise that something big was inside of each of us. We were 7 selected by the same Jesus and we started the trip, with ups and downs, doubts, fights, sadness, but with the immense illusion to gather with young from the world around Jesus and Pope Francis.
Everything started Perfect! Brazil turned into our second home, during the Missionary Week each family that welcomed us left in us a indelible fingerprint, it was like listening to your mum, dad and brothers and sisters talking in another language. A warmth and a love so real that it seemed impossible that so many kilometers were separating us but Christ unify so much.
Personally my experience in the Missionary Week was Beautiful! My family welcomed me with a love that until now I can’t understand or explain. But the more beautiful of all was that it was like transcendent.
Arrived the week of WYD, the emotion was palpable and shortly Rio was full of praises, music and a lot of love of God. But I would have never imagined what happened…
It was around 3 PM and it was the end of the visit of the Petropolis Cathedral and without any heroism or special effect, a big step to bless me from there. Something bad happened and I fractured my right ankle. In a hurry, with the help of my brothers pilgrims I left to the closest hospital. After a lot of calls and efforts my personal medical insurance did not reply and I felt alone.
There on the way to the hospital God offered me an angel dressed as a religious who with an infinite mercy got pity of my case and helped with the expenses. It was almost 11PM and since the event no one have heard of me. Neither my pilgrim friends nor the coordinator of the delegation, during the trip back to my place, the priest that helped me told me his witness an how God convinced him of his mission in an experience very similar to the one we were experiencing.
It was almost midnight, and finally despite the distance I saw my best friends, my friends from the community, full of worries for me. From far away I saw one of my friends and when I saw her sad, pale and worried because of me, I could only hugged her and I start crying like a child, in my mind and my mouth the only words that came were Glory to God! Glory to God! Glory to God!
It was the morning in my accomodation and I saw the most immense present that have been made for me. This family traveled 4 hours to bring me a wheelchair and crutches in order to be able to live the WYD. It was not a help; it was an orden from my adoptive father: Even if I have to push you all the way, you won’t miss that WYD!
I am sure that much wounds on hands, that much inconvenients and efforts I caused to my pilgrims’ friends and that much screams of “Wheelchair!” were the perfect mission of God for my WYD. I learned the value of service, the humiliation for love and how the true love of pilgrim shows up, overcoming barriers and borders.
WYD is the project that surprise and that is never the same. Now I have recovered from my ankle and when we were 7 now we are 25 preparing to go to Panama. Nothing hold the love of God! This is my testimony, this is what I understand from WYD, this is not another trip, but an universal meeting, where the love of Christ unified despite language or reason. Where we are all one and HE shows up inside of us.
Rodrigo Oviedo, El Salvador